Gustav Theodore Holst
(21 September 1874 –- 25 May 1934) was an English composer (of Swedish
descent) of the late 19th to early 20th century. He was most notable for his work on The Planets Suite
, a composition that would go on to influence many of the composers and musicians of the 20th century.
The music of "I Vow To Thee, My Country" is derived from the section "Jupiter" of The Planets
, by the way, so you most certainly have heard of Holst's work if you're in Britain or other Commonwealth countries.
Tropes present in Holst's life and works:
- Creator Backlash: Though The Planets went on to become his most popular pieces, Holst mused on the fact that it had overshadowed all his other works.
- Ill Boy: From childhood, Holst had a nerve problem that restricted use of his right arm and made his dream of becoming a concert pianist impossible.
- Musical Pastiche: When composing several pieces for Star Wars, John Williams incorporated parts from The Planets such as "Venus" inspiring Leia's Theme as well as the using the main theme of "Jupiter" and the second part of "Mars" during the attack on the Death Star, and the beginning and end of "Mars" during the capture of the Blockade Runner and the Destruction of the Death Star respectively. Also the music where Luke is dragging Vader to the Shuttle Craft quotes the beginning of "Uranus."
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: The Planets
- He quite liked "Saturn", though.
- Science Marches On: His musical rendition of the planets does not match what we now know to be the reality (in particular Venus being associated with peace when it's actually covered in storms of boiling acid). In fairness this was based mainly on the astrological meanings of the planets.
- For a long time, the absence of Pluto was this, but then Pluto was demoted from being a planet.
- Sorry Billy, But You Just Don't Have Legs: He suffered from neuritis so had problems with his right hand, shattering his childhood dream of being a concert pianist.
- Trope Maker: Almost single-handedly popularized the wind ensemble. Seriously. Your school band would not exist if it weren't for Holst.
- He did this particularly with First Suite in E-flat for Military Band.